By Jon Meoli, email@example.com
10:25 PM EST, December 11, 2012
State Sen. Jim Brochin said this week that his office is drafting a bill for the state Legislature that could block a proposal by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to use Towson Manor Park for a new fire station.
Brochin and Del. Steve Lafferty have been vocal in opposing a proposal to sell the land housing the Towson fire station and using the profits to build a new one at Towson Manor Park. The two have said they were briefed last month on the plan, which also would involve funding for air conditioning at Dumbarton Middle School.
Brochin said this week that his bill would require a majority vote from the county's senate and house delegation to Annapolis to approve county use of parkland for any other purpose than open space.
"Open space is at a premium," Brochin said. "There's got to be a better way. The point of government is to try and make people's lives better and protect their quality of life."
Brochin said he has already spoken with senate delegation chairwoman Kathy Klausmeier, and the bill will be submitted during the first or second week of the legislative session in January 2013.
"There needs to be a check against doing this, and that check should be a simple majority of the house and senate delegation," Brochin said. "It shouldn't surprise anybody if that simple answer is 'no.' "
The County Council does not have to approve use of the parkland for a new fire station, according to Councilman David Marks, but must approve the sale of any county lands by a majority vote.
Marks said on Dec. 10 that he expects a new location for the fire station to be identified this week — a new site that would likely not be parkland. If not, the council's check in the process would be to vote down the sale of the fire station property, thereby removing funding for the new firehouse and air conditioning at Dumbarton.
Marks has come out against the plan to relocate the firehouse to Towson Manor Park.
"I downzoned 67 acres of Towson to limit development," Marks said. "I'm very supportive of keeping and expanding open space in our neighborhoods."